The Bruner Expedition

Breakfast with Marcus Brüner

The following is an account of the breakfast meeting, the day following the recruiting of the expedition.

Congratulations! You’ve been selected to be an integral part of the Bruner Expedition. However, your enthusiasm turns to one of skepticism as you meet with Marcus Bruner over a bowl of breakfast stew at the Burnt Cadaver and learn about his true motivation for this journey.

In his early days, Marcus made a decent living working as an accountant for Altdorf’s merchant class and dabbled a bit in money lending. One day, in lieu of payment, he reluctantly received an old book from an initiate of Verena with a serious gambling problem. Thinking it could be worth a few silver, he shopped it around to various bookstores will no success and eventually felt foolish for even accepting it in the first place. Nonetheless, considering it a lesson learned, he brought the book home and over some hot buttered rum, opened the book to its first page.

Complete shite! It was a ridiculous story about a magical island where one can have anything they desire. The protagonist ventures to this island in hope of gathering enough wealth to win the love of a woman. When he returns with mountains of gold and jewels, she still rebukes his love and he dies alone on a pile of gold. Considering it absolute rubbish and dribble on the brass class, he tosses the book into the fireplace and watches it burn.

Just before the book turned into ash he sees something unusual. (Think Lord of the Rings when the ring is tossed into a fire) On one of the pages strange lettering appears, along with a series of numbers. Oddly, it calls to Marcus. He stares at it until finally, it is consumed by fire. What manner of madness is that he questions, but shrugs it off, blames it on too much rum and heads to bed. However, the image haunts him throughout the night.

The next day while eating his breakfast he finds himself doodling what he saw, almost unaware to this action. He continues to think about this vision and very soon it becomes an obsession. There must be something to this.

What could this mean? Is this some magical proof that this island does exist? He arranges payment to have the writing researched. It an expensive and time consuming endeavor, but he learns nothing. Despite the fact that he finds himself obsessed with the mystery, he uses better judgment, and returns to his duties. Still, his sleep is continually disturbed.

Eventually, he is assigned duties in Ubersreik. In this border city he prospers. He enjoys the frantic environment of the city and begins making a very good living providing assistance to the merchant class.

About six months ago on a business trip to Bogenhafen Marcus befriends a Celestial wizard named Boris Grubenhaffer. Over casual conversation he mentions the book and the writing. Boris offers to do some research for him. At first Marcus politely declines, but eventually takes him up on the offer.

Months past, and Marcus hears nothing, and expects Boris discovered the same thing that everyone else did…bupkus.

Then one fateful day he receives a correspondence from Boris. He was able to learn a few things. The writing is an ancient sanscript, linked to the people of Araby, but possibly pre-dating their civilization. The numbers appear to be coordinates, but they do not use the Empire system of navigation. In his letter, Boris suggests that it’s best to meet in person. Marcus fully understands. People can be mistrustful of wizards, particularly in this part of the Empire, and stories about visions and ancient writing could easily draw the attention of a zealous witchhunter.

Marcus asks one of the merchants he’s associated with to follow up with Boris to discuss a meeting, and the same time he formally requests approval from his college in Altdorf for further investigation. Greatly anticipating this new information will lead him on a search through the empire, he begins recruitment for this expedition.

Some of you may think,

“So, that’s why I’m here!?! Where is the fame and fortune promised on the recruiting poster? I’ve agreed to two years of servitude to a wizard obsessed with some children’s story about golden islands and a bad dream about book. The rumors are true…wizards are mad bunch! Nevertheless, a silver a day is a silver a day, and so far no heavy lifting. I’ll ride this horse all the way to market and see where it ends!”

And some of you may think,

“Quite impulsive to pull together a group like this one on such a slim piece of evidence. However, gold wizards and not known for being impulsive. There must be something he’s hiding, and clearly his has the funds to get this started. Interesting.”

And some of you may think,

“This breakfast stew is too rich for me. Not used to eating food like this. Is there cream in this? Who puts cream in stew? Ooo! Oww! Oh-no, that’s gonna leave a stain. If this doesn’t wrap up soon I’m going to crap my pants”

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